Prioritizing Your Life
This past Sunday, in the New York Times, I read a review of a guy who has become popular with the techies in northern California. His popularity stems from his notion that people nowadays spend too much time with their email and techie toys and don't prioritize enough in their everyday life. I know I said the very same thing a number of posts ago. But he wrote a book about it that has become a bestseller, so he wins. Book or no book, it is still a subject worth revisiting often, since life can be nasty, brutish and short. His contention is that too much time is spent doing things that essentially waste time or can be delegated. He recommends conducting more business over the phone which is more direct and faster, as opposed to by email, which can be tremendously iterative and time consuming. Duh. He conducts his business in four hours per week and has a lot of time to spend traveling and promoting his new book and theories on how not to waste time. Good for him. My question is, why has so many people fallen in love with communication tools that by their nature, are more distancing? For me, I grew up on the wonders of the telephone and the human voice and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I like the immediacy, the sound of the other person's voice. I feel like I can read between the pauses and sighs, the deep breaths. You can't get those in email. The interactive humanness is wrung out and replaced by intentionality and careful thought. Not really the same as conversation. But back to prioritizing. The point he is making is that at the very end of the day, (or at the very end of your life) what do you really have to show for all that time spent emailing and fucking around webspace?? Probably not much, when you consider that all of that time might have been used to engage in other more fulfilling activities, whatever they might be. Problem is, blackberries are addicting, iphones are addicting, being needed by someone who is urgently emailing or IM'ing you is addicting. His solution is simply not to respond. Unless it's urgent, that is. Ooops, there's my phone. I need to answer it. More later.